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Stories from the valley

Many Happy Returns

Contributed by Jim Morris

You really have to want to find Bayliss.  Located amidst rice fields and ranches between Orland and Willows in Glenn County, it’s about as rural as rural can be.

As I arrived at my destination and exited my truck, I was greeted by the sight of a horse, crowing roosters and a flock of blackbirds in motion around me.

My destination- the Bayliss Public Library. Yes, it’s only open one day a week, only about 200 people live in the area and much of the world prefers eBooks, but there is something grand, something historic and eminently worthwhile about this place.

Inside the Bayliss LibraryFirst of all, it has history. This is the smallest of the Carnegie Libraries established across the country. Built in 1917, it’s also the only one in an unincorporated township.

This is an absolute showplace. The architecture is exquisite. The hardwood floors immaculate. The décor shows love and continual care. And the thousands of books housed within about 1,500 square feet? They are well maintained and much loved.

“We’re making a lot of effort to keep this as current as any library,” said Clerk Linda Bowers.  This Texas transplant commutes from Willows. Her husband works for a beekeeping company.

Bayliss LibraryLinda says children account for 80 percent of their readership. Plus, many in the surrounding community are avid readers of good, old-fashioned, printed books. This is also a place where events are held. Where a community stays strong and connected.

The value of this little library a long way from suburbia?  It’s immense and incalculable.

The person on hand every Tuesday to make it all go summed it up well.

“A more literate society is a more compassionate and engaged society,” she remarked.